Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a list of short playoff notes.
Pressure is now on the Capitals
Now tied at 2-2, the pressure is clearly on the Capitals for Saturday. If the Capitals lose, the Caps would have lost three games in a row and would have to play an elimination game in Raleigh. Look for the Capitals to throw everything including the kitchen sink at the game on Saturday.
The depleted forward group and lack of pure scoring
With Ferland and Svechnikov out, the Hurricanes are basically iced two fourth lines on Thursday. If Martinook is unable to go on Saturday, the Hurricanes will need to reach even deeper into the AHL depth chart. It would be fair to call Greg McKegg, Saku Maenalanen, Patrick Brown and whoever else is called up for Saturday AHL call ups. Yes, McKegg and Maenalanen have been at the NHL level for awhile now, but the point that the Hurricanes are deep into their depth chart should not be lost.
The forward group right now is really light on raw scoring power. Fortunately, the Hurricanes are driving scoring chances from their aggressive puck-hounding style and their forecheck, but if that dries up the team could be hard-pressed to generate and finish enough scoring chances. With safe and steady Patrick Brown already in the mix, the next AHL call up could seek to add a player with greater scoring potential.
Acclimation to the dangers of playoff hockey
Sebastian Aho did pick up a secondary assist on Thursday, but in general he has had a fairly quiet series. Teravainen had the huge goal on Thursday but likewise has been pretty quiet. I think especially in Aho’s case, he is adjusting to playoff hockey against a physical team. The Canes/Caps series is not a friendly one for players who want to play with the puck on their stick. In players like Ovechkin, Oshie and Wilson, the Capitals have regular forwards who play physical hockey. The result for Aho has been him regularly pulling up just inside the offensive blue line and then looking for a passing option. Peak Aho more regularly uses his speed to carve a path to the net, but that can be dangerous in this series.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Who do you expect would be the next call up of Martinook cannot go on Saturday?
2) What are you thoughts on game 5 on Saturday?